Tag Archives: orange mint and honey

How Gardening is Like Writing by Carleen Brice

Both are about creating something where before there was nothing. Bare ground, blank page. With both, the best stuff comes when we dig deep. With both, we strive for beauty and for contributing something to the world around us.
My husband and I started out with a plan for our yard, which we mostly followed. We had the rock company put the boulders where we wanted them, and we planted evergreen shrubs and trees where we wanted. We (when I’m referring to hard physical labor and say “we,” I mean “he”) dug up the lawn with a sod cutter. Then we (this one includes me too) laid down long sheets of brown paper to cover the weedy soil, which we topped with a few tons (literally) of recycled wood mulch. We let this sit for a winter and then the next spring we started planting perennials — blue flax, yarrow, California poppies, black-eyed Susans, moonbeam coreopsis, fire witch dianthus (how could a writer resist these names?). And we (well, ok, I) strayed a bit from the plan.
We started with a list of half a dozen or so low-water, low-maintenance plants, but something happened as I started to work in the yard. The plan didn’t go out the window so much as the garden transcended the plan. Friends offered me Shasta daisies, irises, four o’clocks and hens and chicks from their gardens. I fell in love with cosmos, snow-in-summer, wine cups, Elijah blue fescue, sunset hyssop (a late bloomer with purple and orange flowers that smell like root beer barrel candy) and orange carpet hummingbird trumpet (which brings hummingbirds to our city yard). A vacant lot nearby sprouted blue salvia and a virtually indestructible plant that is either feverfew or chamomile, and I dug them up and brought them home. And, of course, I had to plant some orange mint.
What we ended up with isn’t nearly as easy or as orderly as we envisioned, but the combinations of colors, scents and shapes of the blooms, the different views between rocks and over seas of flowers are much better than I could have imagined when we first started. It was good that we had the plan and laid a foundation of the rocks and evergreens to anchor everything. But it was also good to go a little crazy with the flowers.
This is also how gardening is like writing: have a plan, but don’t be afraid to ignore it when your own work leads you to something better.
Meet Our Blogger:
Carleen Brice is author of the novels Orange Mint and Honey and Children of the Waters. Orange Mint and Honey appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network as Sins of the Mother, starring Jill Scott. It was LMN’s second-highest rated original movie ever. Carleen is currently at work on her third novel.

Celebrating Mother’s Day: Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

We wrap up our Mother’s Day Celebration with the mother of all mother-dauther relationships book. Thank you for following us this week,

-Joy Farrington, The Book Club Expert

In Brice’s accomplished debut, African-American Shay Dixon, a burnt-out grad student, has a visitation/fantasy/fever dream featuring Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul, who counsels Shay to go home. To do that, she must face Nona, the drunken failure of a mother she’s not spoken to in seven years and blames for a harrowing childhood that left her emotionally scarred. Still, she takes Nina’s advice, heads home to Denver and discovers that Nona’s now an A.A. member with a good job, a lovely home and an adorable three-year-old girl, Sunny, Shay’s half-sister. Their reconciliation is complicated by Shay’s stubborn anger, Nona’s A.A. sponsorship of a troubled young woman and Shay’s sexual awakening. Brice’s straightforward prose is dead-on in describing the challenges Shay and her mother face as they reconnect.
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Legendary R&B Singer Jill Scott to Star in Lifetime Movie Network’s Sins of the Mother

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ — Famed R&B singer and actress Jill Scott (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) is set to headline the Lifetime Movie Network Original Movie Sins of the Mother, a touching story about the harsh realities of love, forgiveness and the closest of bonds between mother and daughter.  Based on author Carleen Brice’s moving novel, Orange Mint and Honey, the film features Scott as reformed alcoholic Nona, Nicole Beharie (American Violet) as her daughter Shay and Mimi Rogers (The Door in the Floor) as Nona’s sponsor Lois.  Sins of the Mother will premiere Sunday, February 21, 2010, at 8pm ET/5pm PT, on Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime’s sister network and the second highest rated women’s channel.


Graduate student Shay Dixon (Beharie) reaches a crossroad in her life when she finds herself broke, burned out and unable to cope with the stress of school.  With nowhere else to go, she embarks on a journey home to Tacoma, Washington, to face her abusive, alcoholic, estranged mother, Nona (Scott).  When she returns home, Shay finds Nona living life as a recovered alcoholic, with a new daughter and completely transformed.  Thrown by her mother’s new path, Shay must now accept Nona’s changes and influences, including her sponsor Lois (Rogers) — all forcing Shay to move past her pent-up anger and awaken her own relationships.